Hey All This is my first blog…I have felt the need to join the website to chat with people who are going thru similar experiences who may be able to offer some advice/tips etc on the dreaded prognosis of terminal cancer to which my Dad is living with. Today whilst waiting to go into the treatment room for chemo Dad and I were chatting. He hasn’t been sleeping very well as of late and as I hadn’t seen him in a day or so I asked how he slept last night. "Not very well sweetpea" he said. I questioned Dad "I can’t seem to understand with all the medication you’re on, with side effects of tiredness/drowsiness (pain relief) I don’t understand how that’s not making you sleep". To which then his eyes filled up "I'm scared if I go to sleep, I won’t wake up the next day"....what are you meant to say to that? How can you ease that sort of anxiety? Has anyone experienced something similar or felt this way?
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Super Contributor
Hey Kim, I certainly sympathise with your position- what on earth do you say? Unfortunately, in my experience, there's nothing you can say. My husband was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma 18 months ago. I found the best thing, when he got upset, was just to silently hold him. I think in those situations people aren't actually looking for answers, but just to know they're not alone while they process these huge emotions. Even if you just sit with your Dad and hold his hand, that will be hugely valuable and comforting for him. A carer/supporter's role is not to have all the answers, or make the person they're caring for feel better. Even though that's what we want to do! What we can do is just be there for them, and let them know they are loved. On a practical note, do you think joining a forum like this, or some other interactive medium, would be helpful for your Dad when he can't sleep? The Cancer Council Hotline is open 24/7, and this website is always accessible. If your Dad does start to worry, he has the option of connecting with other people in similar situations, or trained counsellors. I hope this has been somewhat helpful. Take care of yourself, as well. love Emily
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New Contributor
Hi Kim, this was one of my dads biggest fears too. It used to break my heart that for the last 6 months of his time with us he wasn't able to sleep next to my mum. What we did do was understand this fear and try and work with him to make him as comfortable as we could wherever we could. We invested in a recliner chair and as my dad was a tv buff it was positioned in the louge room and he would lounge watching tv and at times drift off to sleep with the tv going. So at least we knew he was getting some rest, was comfortable and at ease. Plus to be honest before my dad got ill this is exactly what he used to do 🙂 My dad also let us know that one of his fears about going to sleep and not waking up was also mum waking up to find that he had passed beside her. Blows my mind about the thoughts and rational that he had thought over during this time. Maybe speak with your dad about where he feels most comfortable? Talk to others about relaxation techniques, or ways that he can be comfortable.
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